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May is Asian-American month. So what better time to take a look at kids' books with Asian protagonists? Books transport us to other places, teach us about cultures and make us thus more open for other people's stories. It is also important for all children to see themselves or kids like them in books to be able to identify. So here are some of my favorites.

Komako Sakai


Akiko goes shopping with her mom in the city and somebody gifts her a balloon. It is carefully tied to her wrist. And becomes her friend. But then the wind carries it away and it gets stuck in a tree. She is heartbroken.

This story is a quiet with adorable illustrations, that make the yellow balloon shine. It very delicately captures the emotions and feelings of the girl, tells of the amazing adventures little kids feel their everyday life offers them.. It was one of the all time favorite books of my older son when he was little .

2 years and up

Ranga Yogeshwar / Nina Dulleck


The two dogs Kala and Lakshmi are friends, but very different. Kala is full of fear and barks at everything she encounters. Lakshmi is a tall dog full of curiosity for everything new. The two on their ways through the Indian jungle reach a temple and Kala runs in first, sees a dog and starts barking - the other dogs barks back angrily and she runs out anxiously. Lakshmi wants to see for herself, as she only heard Kala, but no other dog - and when she gets inside, she sees a friendly dog wagging her tale. There are no other dog in the temple, only mirrors...

Ranga Yogeshwar, who has a popular science show on German TV, grew up in India. The story or fairy tale telling that you are treating how you treat others are beatifully matched with cheerful illustrations full of details.

3 years and up

Lee Tae-Jun / Kim Dong-Seong


It is winter, a child is waiting at the street car stop waiting for his mother. She is not in the first car, not in the second... and slowly more and more snow is falling. Then suddenly the child sees something - is it this?

This is a Korean children's books classic, first published in 1938. It has been newly illustrated with stunning pictures that blend reality and fantasy.

4 years and up.

Anoushka Ravishkar / Christiane Pieper


A little girl has a hick up. She tries everything to get rid of it - to no avail. Told in rhyme this story this is a fun read that will have your little one ask for a repeat. Anouska Ravishkar is one of the most successful Indian authors, also named the Indian Dr. Seuss.

3 years and up

Sophia Gholz / Kayla Harren



In 1979 the boy Jadav Payeng noticed the rain forest around his neighborhood was changing, it was disappearing. He found many dead snakes, who couldn't find anywhere to hide from the scorching sun, as with no tress there was no shade any more. And he decided to change that. So he started to plant a tree a day. First bamboo trees. Later others, too. He kept doing it for 40 years - and now there is a forrest there again.

This picture books tells the true story of this man, showing us that no one is too small to make a change.

4 years and up

Satomi Ichikawa


Every summer little Djamila gets to live with her grand-parents who live a nomad life breeding horses in Central Asia. But one day one of the little foal is gone. it went on a its own little adventure and hurt his leg. Djamila carefully gains the trust of the foal, soothes her and helps her get well again. They become friends.

Ichikawa, a Japanese living in Paris, wants to show children how people in other parts of the world live. She met the family in Kyrgyzstan herself when traveling.

3 years and up.

Liu Xun


One day a girl wakes up and loses her first milk tooth. She remembers her grandfather's words: When you lose it, you have to throw it up on the roof as quickly as possible to grow big and strong. She excitedly rushes out to look fort her grandfather, running through the busy streets of the old quarters, its street vendors with popcorn machines, fish tanks and more. When she finds him, they return together to their old house , to throw it up on the roof of his old house - where his first milk tooth and the tooth of her father already are.

Asia is dominated by big cities - in particular China. This picture book from China juxtaposes old traditions and rituals with the changing, growing cities.

5 years and up.

Baek Hee Na / Kim Hyang Soo


It is a grey rainy day, but the two siblings don't mind, right after getting up they head out to play. And stuck in a tree they find a cloud. They pick it, bring it home, and their mother bakes the most wonderful bread from the cloud... it is a bread with some special powers, it turns out.

This is a truly stunning picture book with unique illustrations, picturing kids curiosity and joy in life.

Baek Hee Na is a celebrated children's books author in Korea.

3 years and up

Chen Chih-Yuan


In this adorable children's book the reader follows the girl Hsiao-Yü, who has been sent on an errand by her father. A simple mundane task like buying eggs become a magical outing: she follows the shadows of a cat, sees the world turn blue when looking through a marble and dons a pair of glasses that turn her into an adult..

3 years and up

Chang-Hoon Jung / Ha Hing



Do you know what the moon looks like today? How long it is out? Where it rises, where it sets? This factual children's book, written by a Korean astronomer, will put an end to that mystery. What makes it unique is the paring with beautifully poetic illustrations.

5 years and up

Rieke Padwardhan


Fraulein Schmalzbrot and Billie Ballonfahrer are two sisters, not much alike. There father is Indian, so in every day life the two girls are not really exposed that much to Indian culture. But then - finally - there grand-father announces his visit all the way from India. And there father suddenly changes his way of cooking and much else, to please his dad...

One of the few books written in German of this list, this is a well written chapter book (part 2 of a series) - a great read aloud book that is fun for all in the family.

6 years and up.

Sayantani Dasgupta


Kiranmala is a fairly ordinary girl in New Jersey. Her parents keep telling her about Indian gods and godesses, which she thinks is their way of connecting her to Indian culture. But it turns out, they were preparing her for a spell: one day her parents are cast into another dimension. KIranmala sets out to save her parents, accompanied by two Indian princes..

This is the first part of a fantasy series, mixing American pop culture, Indian mythology and a sense of humor with great dialogues.

9 years and up


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